Book Review (ARC): You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

Even though we’re only in the second month of 2019, You Asked For Perfect has already made my list of favorite books of the year. I honestly don’t think this review could’ve come at a better timing for me too because I recently just finished what I anticipate to have been the hardest academic week of my semester. I had multiple exams and essays due, and I was constantly studying during my free time. You Asked For Perfect follows Ariel Stone, a high school senior who constantly pushes himself to be the best, all-around college applicant. ✏ Throughout the story, we follow his growth, understanding, and eventually acceptance of his success and capabilities.

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YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT by Laura Silverman

PUBLISHED BY Sourcebooks Fire on March 5th, 2019

GENRES: Contemporary

PAGES: 288

ADD TO GOODREADS     //    BOOK DEPOSITORY

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Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

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I honestly don’t even know where to start with my review because this book is just too relatable for words. It sounds crazy to say, but I’ve never identified so much with a character—Ariel Stone is me. His thoughts, worries, and stress surrounding academics and grades constantly roar in my own mind, and his journey as a high school student applying for college felt like a throwback to my senior year. 💫 His development throughout the story is phenomenal, and I was consistently rooting for him throughout all his struggles.

Even though I grew up in a fairly stereotypical Asian household, my mother was never a “tiger mom.” She always stated that all my ambitions were my own which is why I connected so strongly with Ariel’s academic-related anxieties and fear of failure. When you place so much weight on academics, you can’t help but have a mental spiral of thoughts. “If I don’t do well on this exam, I won’t get an A in this class. If I don’t get an A in this class, I won’t have a 4.0 GPA. If I don’t have a 4.0 GPA, I won’t get into the best college. If I don’t get into the best college, I can’t get the best job then I’ll be homeless(!!)” Granted, when we think this way, we know we’re being overly dramatic. We know that five years down the line, we’ll be okay, but in the moment, we can’t help but freak out. 😱

I thought Laura Silverman did a wonderful job illustrating the internal thought processes that Ariel had surrounding his worries, and in a funny (and somewhat ironic) way, it was really calming to see the similarities it had with myself. Little things such as calculating what how many points you can afford to lose on a quiz to how a single assignment impacts your total grade and whether it affects your ability to end with an A in the class made the book all the more meaningful to me. 💯

Not only that, this book is filled with amazing diversity and representation. Ariel is Jewish, and I loved how his faith was weaved into the story. From simple food descriptions (someone please introduce me to Matzo ball soup) to talking with the Rabbi, it was amazing to see the incorporation of religious culture and tradition into a character’s everyday life. Ariel’s love interest, Amir, is Arabian and Muslim, and he is soooo soft. I loved their interactions together, and their romance is filled with Harry Potter references. ⚡Ariel’s family was also so wonderful, and I loved that they simply existed in this book.

Four years ago, I was preparing for the ACT and powering through my junior year of high school to present myself as the perfect college applicant. Fast forward 6 months, I would have finished researching the plethora of colleges and started writing my essays. 🎓 Like Ariel, I was Ivy Bound. I knew what I wanted and was determined to get it, but eventually, when the results are in and your choices are laid out in front of you, you have to ask yourself—what do I really want? If you would have told junior year Tiffany that she would get into an Ivy League school but say no, she would’ve thought you were crazy. **spoiler** I would’ve loved to see a continuation of Ariel’s story where we follow his journey in choosing which college to attend. It would have given the story a final closure, but I can also understand why the author kept it open-ended.

Overall, You Asked For Perfect was an incredibly soft yet relatable read. If you haven’t added it to your TBR yet, you seriously need to add it right now. This is the book high school Tiffany would have needed so I’m glad that I’m finally reading it now. 🌟

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Have you read You Asked For Perfect? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments! 💕

18 thoughts on “Book Review (ARC): You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

  1. Doing well in academics has been a huge part in my upbringing. While I am better for it – the discipline it gave me, and the knowledge that education was a privilege my family could afford – it was also a very stressful time. Stress probably being quite an understatement. The academic environment I grew up in was harsh and very competitive. Very few of us had a choice in what our future courses would be, to be honest (I was one of the lucky ones)! I would have loved to read this story just for that different perspective.

    Also, reading food descriptions in a novel gives me so much pleasure hahaha

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    1. Thank you so much for reading my review, Cam ❤ I actually really think you'll be able to relate to this book a lot. Like you, I'm also super grateful for the discipline of studying hard and working for my family, but it does come with a lot of unneeded stress. I think this book does a really great job of describing what we're feeling and how he copes! Also YESSS food descriptions are amazing ❤ I really really hope you get a chance to read and love it! I would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

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  2. This is such an amazing review, Tiffany!! I’m glad that you saw so much of yourself in Ariel, and it’s great that seeing these similarities was calming for you ☺️ You saying that “this is the book high school Tiffany would have needed” makes me even more excited (if that’s even possible) to read this book, because I just went through the (extremely stressful) college application process last semester, and I absolutely cannot wait to relate to a character like I never had before. 😍😭 I’ve never been so excited to read a book like You Asked for Perfect!! March 5th can’t come soon enough 👀

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    1. AHH Thank you Dezzy!! I really can’t wait for you to read this because I genuinely think you’ll be able to relate to a lot of it too. I’m so excited for you to finish high school and move on to college too ❤ MY BB GROWING UP!! If Ariel had a ftwitter, it could be like ours 😂

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  3. You got into an Ivy League and said no? Damn. HONESTLY, THAT’S SO ICONIC and I’M PROUD OF YOU AND THE CHOICES YOU’VE MADE TO GET HERE ❤ ❤ I totally agree with this review, except that this book made me really anxious loll but mainly because I'm still in high school and while I feel the pressure to do well academically, I'm not as… studious as some other kids might be and I'm highkey panicking because I feel like I'm going to do terribly in the future????

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    1. LOLOL LIFE WORKS IN WEIRD WAYS?? But I also think it all works out because I’m happy where I am now ❤ and OMG JULIANNA (Jules?? Ju??) You're going to do amazing!!! You're already slaying it as a book blogger and balancing that with school and just being an amazing person. Honestly, whatever school you go to you'll do absolutely amazing, and your college definitely doesn't define you. You should be so proud of all the amazing things you've accomplished, but also be proud of the amazing person that you already are 🙂

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  4. This sounds like something I might enjoy. I loved studying even if I was never too focused on grades, but I feel like I still might relate to Ariel, in memory of teenage Ara. LMAO. Thanks for the review!

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  5. This is such a fantastic review, Tiffany and I am so, SO happy that you enjoyed this book so much, yay! I absolutely adored it just as well, it is one of my new favorite books, too and I found Ariel’s struggles so, very relatable just as well ❤ Did you read Girl Out of Water? I really hope you will if you haven't just yet! ❤ ❤

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    1. MARIEEEEE I basically added this book to my TBR and made it a priority to read it because of you ❤ ❤ ❤ and honestly I couldn't be happier because it introduced me to a book that I couldn't relate more to. and Not yet!! but I've heard you mention it before so I really want to read it and now after reading You Asked For Perfect, I REALLY need to read it now!

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  6. This book sounds so so relatable! I’m a complete nerd hoping my 4.4 gpa is enough to get into colleges (decisions start coming out in a couple weeks aaaaahhh) and everything you mentioned speaks to my nerdy soul lol. Also I’m so in awe that you got into (and turned down!!) an ivy and you’re an amazing genius in addition to being am amazing blogger ❤️ great review and I’m definitely adding this to my tbr!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh you’re going to do so amazing Kay!! I have full faith it you ❤ and I'm so excited for you to start college so soon! It's honestly such a great experience, and I feel like it's helped me grow a lot. Thank you so much for liking my review 🙂 I really think you'll love this book too~

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  7. Okay, I just finished this book, like yesterday, and I could not agree with you more! This book was so incredibly relatable, so much so that at the beginning of the book I found myself stressed *for* Ariel. I loved the Jewish rep, and the relationships, and the general message of the book. I’m so happy that you liked it too 😁

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